SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN PEACE-BUILDING OFFICE IN GUINEA-BISSAU UNTIL 22 DECEMBER 2005

22 December 2004
SC/8278

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN PEACE-BUILDING OFFICE IN GUINEA-BISSAU UNTIL 22 DECEMBER 2005

22/12/2004
Press ReleaseSC/8278

Security Council

5107th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN PEACE-BUILDING OFFICE

 

IN GUINEA-BISSAU UNTIL 22 DECEMBER 2005

 

Resolution 1580 (2004) Adopted Unanimously

Recognizing the risks presented by recent developments to the conclusion of Guinea-Bissau’s transitional process, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in that country for one year and gave it a revised mandate in light of the diverse tasks facing the special political mission.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1580 (2004), the Council, welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a revised mandate for the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) in his latest report, decided that, under its revised mandate, the Office, among other things, would support efforts to enhance political dialogue and promote national reconciliation and respect for the rule of law and human rights.  The mission would also support the efforts of all national stakeholders to ensure the full restoration of constitutional normalcy, including through the holding of free and transparent presidential elections.

Also as part of its revised mandate, the special political mission would encourage national efforts to reform the security sector, including the development of stable civil-military relations and, within the framework of a comprehensive peace-building strategy, actively support efforts to strengthen State institutions and structures in order to enable them to uphold the rule of law, respect for human rights and the independent functioning of the Government’s executive, legislative and judicial branches of Government.

Expressing deep concern at recent developments in Guinea-Bissau, particularly the 6 October 2004 military mutiny that resulted in the assassinations of the Chief of General Staff, General Verissimo Correia Seabra, and the armed forces spokesman, Colonel Domingos de Barros, and which have jeopardized gains achieved since the installation of the new Government after the March 2004 legislative elections, the Council noted that repeated acts of instability threaten efforts towards the country’s sustainable socio-economic development.

Calling upon the Guinea-Bissau’s National Assembly, while addressing the issue of granting an amnesty for all those involved in military interventions since 1980, to take account of the principles of justice and fight against impunity, the Council strongly urged the Government, together with military authorities and other concerned parties, to agree on a national plan for security sector reform, in particular military reform.

The Council invited the Secretary-General to establish an Emergency Fund --to be administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) -- to support efforts related to the planning and implementation of military reform.  It appealed to the international community to help Guinea-Bissau meet its immediate needs, as well as its structural challenges, by providing additional contributions to the Emergency Economic Management Fund (EEMF), as well as to the new Fund.

By further provisions of the text, the Secretary-General was requested to conduct a review of UNOGBIS with a view to adjusting its capacities to meet the requirements of its revised mandate.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Council President Abdallah Baali (Algeria) thanked Council members for their cooperation during the Algerian Presidency and paid tribute to the five elected members of the Council that were leaving at the end of year, namely Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain.

The meeting began at 5:10 p.m. and adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

Resolution

The text of resolution 1580 (2004) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions 1216 (1998) of 21 December 1998 and 1233 (1999) of 6 April 1999, and the statement of its President of 2 November 2004 (S/PRST/2004/41),

Expressing its deep concern at recent developments in Guinea-Bissau, particularly the 6 October 2004 military mutiny that resulted in the assassinations of the Chief of General Staff, General Veríssimo Correia Seabra, and the armed forces spokesman, Colonel Domingos de Barros, and which has jeopardized gains achieved since the installation of the new Government after the March 2004 legislative elections,

Stressing the fact that such developments demonstrate the fragility of the ongoing transitional process and of national political institutions, and recognizing the risks they present to the conclusion of the transitional process,

Noting, with concern, that repeated acts of instability and unrest threaten efforts towards sustainable social and economic development, and may erode the confidence by bilateral partners and the international community,

Underlining that the Government of Guinea-Bissau and national authorities must remain committed to the promotion of the rule of law and fight against impunity,

“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on Guinea-Bissau and on the activities of the United Nations Peace-Building Support Office in that country (UNOGBIS) of 15 December 2004 (S/2004/969), and his recommendations contained therein,

Reaffirming its full commitment to the promotion of peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau,

“1.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNOGBIS, as a special political mission, for one year from the date of adoption of this resolution;

“2.   Decides also to revise UNOGBIS’s mandate as follows:

(a)   To support all efforts to enhance political dialogue, to promote national reconciliation and respect for the rule of law and human rights;

(b)   To support the efforts of all national stakeholders to ensure the full restoration of constitutional normalcy in accordance with the provisions of the Political Transition Charter of 28 September 2003, including through the holding of free and transparent presidential elections;

(c)   To assist with these elections in close cooperation with the United Nations country team and other international partners;

(d)   To assist in strengthening the national mechanisms for conflict prevention during the remainder of the transitional period and beyond;

(e)   To encourage and support national efforts to reform the security sector, including the development of stable civil-military relations, and to attract international support for these efforts;

(f)   To encourage the Government to fully implement the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects;

(g)   To work closely with the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations country team to mobilize international financial assistance to enable the Government to meet its immediate financial and logistical needs and implement its national reconstruction and social and economic development strategy;

(h)   Within the framework of a comprehensive peace-building strategy, to actively support efforts of the United Nations system and Guinea-Bissau’s other partners, towards strengthening State institutions and structures to enable them to uphold the rule of law, the respect of human rights and the unimpeded and independent functioning of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of Government;

“3.   Encourages the authorities of Guinea-Bissau to enhance political dialogue and pursue constructive civil/military relations, as a way forward towards the peaceful completion of the political transition, including the holding of presidential elections as envisaged in the Political Transitional Charter;

“4.   Calls upon the National Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, while addressing the issue of granting an amnesty for all those involved in military interventions since 1980, to take account of the principles of justice and fight against impunity;

“5.   Strongly urges the Government, together with military authorities and other concerned parties, to agree, as soon as possible, on a national plan for the reform of the security sector, in particular the military reform;

“6.   Invites the Secretary-General to establish an Emergency Fund, to be administered by the United Nations Development Programme, to support efforts related to the planning and implementation of military reform;

“7.   Appeals to the international community to continue to provide assistance to help Guinea-Bissau to meet its immediate needs, as well as its structural challenges, particularly by providing additional contributions to the Emergency Economic Management Fund (EEMF), as well as to the new Fund mentioned above;

“8.   Encourages the establishment of a joint coordinating mechanism among the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries to ensure synergy and complementarity;

“9.   Commends the Bretton Woods institutions for their continued engagement in Guinea-Bissau and encourages them to continue their assistance;

“10.  Requests the Secretary-General to conduct a review of UNOGBIS with a view to adjusting its capacities to meet the requirements of its revised mandate;

“11.  Further requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council closely and regularly informed of developments on the ground and of the implementation of the present resolution, in particular of paragraphs 2 and 5 above, and in that regard, requests the Secretary-General to submit a report every three months from the date of adoption of the present resolution;

“12.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Background

The Secretary-General’s report on developments in Guinea-Bissau on the activities of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in that country (document S/2004/969) concentrates on developments in Guinea-Bissau since the Council’s last briefing, in October, following a military mutiny in the country.  The Council was also briefed in September on progress achieved by the Government since taking office in May 2004 following legislative elections in March 2004.

The Secretary-General notes that the challenges confronting Guinea-Bissau are complex and multisectoral.  The situation has been further complicated by the 6 October mutiny and its consequences.  He is encouraged by the fact that all segments of the population are actively engaged in a comprehensive reflection on a way out of the recurrent crises so that Guinea-Bissau can begin to build sustainable peace and progress.  To contribute to that effort, the Secretary-General proposed, in his letter dated 19 November to the Council President, not only an extension of the United Nations Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) presence in Guinea-Bissau, but also a revision of its mandate to take into account the diverse tasks at hand and the importance of strengthening the capacity of national stakeholders to confront those challenges.

In his 19 November letter, the Secretary-General had outlined the new tasks which the Council might wish to include in a revised mandate for UNOGBIS, the report states.  A new role would allow the Office, working closely with the United Nations country team, to integrate development and peace and security activities with a view to defining a cohesive peace-building strategy in the immediate, medium and longer terms.  The revised mandate will enable the Office, together with the United Nations country team and the international community, to help Guinea-Bissau overcome its current difficulties, including the organization of presidential elections next year.

The UNOGBIS and the country team will contribute to institutional capacity-building to enable the legislative, the executive and the judiciary branches to function more efficiently, the report states.  Training and advocacy in the advancement of the respect for human rights and the rule of law will be intensified.  Serious attention needs to be given to military reform.  To that end, UNOGBIS and the country team will support the efforts of the Government and the armed forces to plan and implement military reform.  To help the Government to meet those challenges, UNOGBIS will work closely with the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations country team to mobilize international financial assistance.

The challenges facing Guinea-Bissau are many and complex, the Secretary-General notes.  He appeals to the international community to provide assistance to help the country meet its immediate needs, as well as its more structural challenges.  In the immediate term, given the country’s chronic revenue deficiency, the Emergency Economic Management Fund should be extended beyond its closing date of the end of December 2004 until June 2005, to enable the Government to meet its urgent budgetary priorities in accordance with the Fund’s terms of reference.

Regarding military reform, the report notes that it is essential, once the Government and the military authorities define the nature and scope of such reform, that the international community provide the necessary support to national efforts to ensure that the process will begin to proceed expeditiously.  Once the objectives and modalities of the restructuring of the security sector, including the armed forces, are defined, a special fund similar to the Emergency Economic Management Fund should be set up to facilitate the planning and implementation of the reform process.  The UNOGBIS and the country team will work closely with the national authorities to define various programmes in support of that process, as well as to mobilize the necessary resources for their implementation.

The United Nations will also assist the authorities to implement the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, the report states.  Within the framework of that Programme’s implementation, the Government should be encouraged to collect and destroy small arms and light weapons held in private hands.  Working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and neighbouring States, the Government should also address the regional proliferation of small arms, and other cross-border issues.

In terms of medium- and longer-term priorities, the United Nations, working together with donors, should develop programmes to strengthen national institutions and structures in the political, judiciary, social and economic realms; develop and empower civil society bodies; address the plight of youth, especially through the provision of opportunities for productive and constructive participation in national life and processes; and rebuild social and public infrastructure.  At the same time, UNOGBIS, together with the United Nations country team, will intensify efforts to strengthen the judiciary system, the report adds.

Guinea-Bissau has made important progress since the 1998-1999 conflict, the Secretary-General states.  As the country moves towards the completion of the ongoing transitional process, new challenges emerge, as evidenced by the military mutiny of 6 October 2004.  It is regrettable that, since the beginning of the transition, qualified optimism has been replaced by growing scepticism and an enhanced perception that the military poses the great obstacle to the consolidation of democracy and peace.  There is also growing exasperation that recurrent military interventions are preventing the resumption of development assistance, economic opportunities and improvement in living conditions.

The Secretary-General encourages Guinea-Bissau’s authorities to complete the political transition peacefully, including by holding presidential elections as envisaged in the Political Transition Charter.  To that end, it is essential that political dialogue be enhanced and that the more constructive civil/military relations be promoted, aimed at ensuring that the military establishment strictly observes the principle of subordination to civilian political authorities.  He urges all stakeholders, particularly political and military leaders, to rise above their partisan interests and help to consolidate peace and stability during the transitional period and beyond.

Despite the recurrent nature of Guinea-Bissau’s problems, it is crucial that Guinea-Bissau’s development partners remain engaged, the report continues.  The Secretary-General urges the international community and all partners to be generous in their assistance, including providing contributions to the Emergency Economic Management Fund and the necessary financial and technical support for the holding of presidential elections in 2005.

The Secretary-General commends the Bretton Woods institutions for their continued engagement in the country, and appeals to the international community to actively participate in the round table, once a new date for its convening has been fixed.  Economic reforms and the rejuvenation of the national economy are critical and should be supported by local and foreign investors.

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For information media. Not an official record.